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People

Dianne Walker




Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, a pioneer in tap dancing’s resurgence, has a 40 year career
spanning Broadway, Television, Film and International Jazz Concerts and Tap Festivals.
Savion Glover and his contemporaries affectionately call her, “Aunt Dianne”,
acknowledging her unique role as mentor, teacher and confidante. Dianne performed in
both the original Paris Production of Black and Blue as well as the Broadway
Production, where she was a featured dancer, Dance Captain and Assistant to the
Directors. Film credits include the movie Tap, the PBS special, Great Performances: Tap
Dance in America, JUBA! (WTTW), and Songs Unwritten. Dianne has been dubbed the
"Ella Fitzgerald" of Tap Dance.
For two years, Dianne directed the Tap Program at Jacobs Pillow and is presently
Artistic Advisor to the Program. Holding a Master’s degree in Education, Dianne has
taught at numerous universities including Harvard, MIT, Wesleyan, Bates, UCLA, and
Williams College. Dianne is a participant on many educational task forces, and sits on
numerous boards throughout the dance community. In 1998, Dianne received the
“Living Treasure in American Dance” Award from Oklahoma City University, The Flo-
Bert Award (NYC), The Hoofers Award (NYC), The Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award
(Los Angeles), and was the 2008 USA Rose Fellow. Most recently, Dianne received the
prestigious Dance Magazine Award, presented to her at the Alvin Ailey School in New
York, adding to a long line of awards and lifetime tributes recognizing her contribution to
the art form and excellence in teaching. Grant awards include The National Endowment
for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Jacobs Pillow, The New England
Foundation for the Arts, and American Masterpieces Program.
Dianne has been generously mentored by many musicians and Tap Dance legends
throughout her career, notably Leon Collins and Jimmy Slyde. Dianne has worked with
Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Honi Coles, Cholly Atkins,
Tina Pratt, Barry Harris, Max Roach, Alan Dawson, Major Holley, Ruth Brown, Nicholas
Brothers, Peg Leg Bates, Arthur Duncan and many others. Leon Collins passed away in
l985, leaving Dianne to continue as one of the Directors of his school in Boston. It is
with a great sense of pride that Dianne continues to share this rich legacy with her
students.
Currently, Dianne teaches and performs worldwide and collaborates with schools in
Minnesota, Michigan and Tokyo Japan.